An innovative project to introduce German non-Jews to German Jews has been launched by the country’s Jewish community.
The Central Council of Jews (CCJ) in Germany’s ‘Meet a Jew’ project is designed to increase contact with, and exposure to, a community that comprises fewer than 0.2 percent of the population, with all different denominations represented.
More than 300 Jewish volunteers have signed up to the initiative, in which they will be paired with non-Jewish Germans and talk about their lives, from schooling to religion and personal experiences of antisemitism.
“We realised that a lot of people in Germany don’t know Jewish people in person,” said project coordinator Mascha Schmerling.
“The knowledge they have about Jews comes from history books, from school, or it is connected to the Holocaust or current antisemitism or sometimes through the policies of Israel.”
The German government has given the CCJ its backing, as Schmerling said the idea was “to introduce modern-day Jewish life, and to give Jewish people a face and a voice”, in an effort to educate and inform, with
a view to increasing tolerance.
Volunteer Dr Lina Roisenwasser, 30, said: “It’s important we talk to each other and that they’re not just talking about us as victims in history bookings, like we’re just a chapter in German history. It’s important we show that we belong to the country now. We are part of society.”